Ban on plastic straws a step closer
Single use plastic products are close to being banned in Queensland, after a proposal was motion was green-lit in parliament.
The new legislation is on the agenda for state parliament next month.
According to the Brisbane Times, businesses could cop fines of up to $6,672 if caught selling plastic straws and cutlery after July 1, 2021.
There would be exemptions though. Due to their nature, schools and healthcare providers will not have to comply with the new laws.
With only three parliamentary sitting days left before the October 31 state election, there's a real chance the proposed bill will be shelved until next year.
However, with mounting pressure to do away with disposable plastic utensils, the Queensland government may push it through sooner.
RELATED: QLD State Government plan to ban single use plastic earns praise
The proposal comes after the State Government asked Queenslanders what to do about single use plastics in an inquiry, and received almost 20,000 submissions since November 2019 begging for a ban.
Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Minister Leeanne Enoch previously said 94 per cent of submissions were in favour of banning single-use plastic items.
Many also lobbied for the legislation - which would be reviewed after two years - to be expanded, calling for the inclusion of items such as plastic coffee cups, cigarette lighters, takeaway food containers and heavyweight plastic bags.
In its submission, the National Retail Association said it supported a ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers, plates, bowls and cutlery, but pointed out that alternatives would incur a "higher cost".
They said it was unacceptable to expect retail businesses to carry the increased cost burden and warned it would be passed onto consumers by hiking the price of goods.
The legislation comes after WWF-Australia issued a scorecard rating Australian states and territories by their ability to tackle the plastic problem.
Unsurprisingly, Queensland took out top spot for the state government's introduction of this bill to ban single-use plastics.
Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory tied for last place on the scorecard due to lack of action on phasing out some of the most littered single-use plastic items.
WWF-Australia's No Plastics in Nature policy manager Katinka Day said the plastics scorecard was designed to spark discussion and encourage government leadership.
"It's wonderful to see the Sunshine State leading the way," she said.
"Plastic items like straws, plates and utensils are often discarded after a single use, ending up in landfill or our oceans for hundreds of years."
Originally published as Ban on plastic straws a step closer